1. redbarn5

    redbarn5 New Egg

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    I want to put a heat lamp in my coop this winter but wonder what wattage I should use. Our coop is a converted old small wooden garden shed (the shape of an outhouse). Should I use the red heat lamp we used when our chicks were brand new or get a low watt lamp? Any guidelines? My birds are winter hardy, I just want to heat the coop to spoil them. Love my girls.
     
  2. RIBill

    RIBill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I struggled with the same question. I have lots of ventilation at the top of my coop, which is 3x5. I went with a 150 watt ceramic heat bulb which emits no light. That will be (tomorrow) plugged into a thermal cube. It shouldn't get too hot in there with the cube, and if it's still too cold, I'll close up / reduce some vents.
     
  3. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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  4. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    Keep in mind as you make your decision that what is "spoiling" to you is not necessarily "spoiling" to your chickens. They have much different standards of comfort than do humans.

    What will you do if your power goes out mid-winter? If you heat your coop your chickens will not be acclimated to the cold, the sudden temperature change will be a shock to their system. If you have a back-up generator will you always be within 15-20 minutes of home this winter and able to drop what you're doing to run home and get it set up for the chickens? Do you have an alarm system to wake you in the middle of the night if the power goes out while you're sleeping?

    What if the lightbulb burns out in the middle of the night? In the middle of a blizzard? When you're not home so you can't notice?

    Do you also plan to heat the run so the difference in temp is not such a shock to them or do you plan to lock them up all winter long? Most chickens appreciate being able to get out, even in the winter, but if they're used to warmth and the run is much colder that will affect their ability to go out, stretch their legs and wings, peck around the ground, etc. If they don't get out it also increases the chores you need to keep up on. There will be a LOT more waste in the coop.
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    If you have to use a lamp -- and it is really foolish in my opinion to use one if you don't have to, since they are a VERY REAL fire risk, every year several BYCers' coops burn down from heatlamps, they are *notorious* for that -- then use as low a wattage as will produce the effect you want. "I just want to heat the coop to spoil them" is not a good plan, well-intentioned though it be.

    This means, basically, own several bulbs of different wattages, start with a low wattage (like 60w) and give it a day or so and see how that works for you before deciding whether to stick with it or trade up.

    If your coop is intelligently designed and intelligently managed, it is quite likely that even if you "need" a lamp (e.g. are starting to get the first preliminary warnings of frostbite) you will not need a HEAT lamp (i.e. 175 or 250w bulb), just a regular ol' lightbulb. Which is still not foolproof but is certainly much LESS of a fire risk. Remember you need only warm the chickens (in particular, their combs), you are not trying to heat all the air in all the coop [​IMG]

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  6. N. Virginia

    N. Virginia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi PatandChickens:
    If one does use a regular light bulb, how do you keep the light from bothering the chickens? Use a yellow bulb?
    Thanks,
    N. VA
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    First, a lamp needn't necessarily be on all night. A lot of people just set it to go on in the wee hours of the morning, when it is coldest. That's relaly no different than using a lamp to extend daylength [​IMG]

    Second, most people do not experience light 'bothering the chickens', although if they get crabby because of too much confinement it can help to use a red bulb (they can still see it but they can't see *blood* which is most important; you can get red versions of pretty much all possible wattages). And of course this is the same whether you use a heatlamp OR a regular bulb.

    Third, if you REALLY want (and have a heatlamp with a ceramic socket) you can buy one of the ceramic infrared emitters they sell for reptiles etc. THey are pricier and not avaiable in such a range of wattages, and still not without fire hazard, but they emit no visible light.

    I think an awful lot of people use heat who don't at all need to be, though.

    Pat
     
  8. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aside from the real risk of a coop fire, another danger from heat lamps is chickens getting burned on them. Do be sure to use a guard over the bulb, and even then the metal lamp shade can get pretty hot.

    Someone we know here last winter had one of her chickens burn its comb very badly on a heat lamp...and it was probably an unnecessary accident since it rarely gets below freezing here, anyway.
     
  9. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:What are you going to so when the power goes off? Or what happens when the birds get ramming around and knock the light into the pine shavings? Chickens don't need extra heat if they have a dry, well ventilated area and spoiling them by adding a heat lamp in particular is kind of asking for trouble. That's MHO and I'm sticking with it.
     
  10. redbarn5

    redbarn5 New Egg

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    Glad I asked. I guess I will not be putting a heat lamp in the coop. Just lots of fluffy shavings. I'm new at this chicken thing and just feel badly when it's so cold out. But they're in down coats I have to remember. Thanks for your input.
     

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